Highlights of the U.S. Embassy Town Hall – May 2020
On May 28, 2020, the US Embassy in Zagreb and the Ambassador W. Robert Kohorst hosted a virtual town hall for American citizens. While the effects of coronavirus on consular services and travel restrictions were the primary focus, there were a variety of illuminating updates.
In this post, we’ll cover the biggest takeaways from this town hall that affect US Citizens living in Croatia as well as Croatian citizens who wish to visit the United States.
#1 Double taxation treaty is heavily delayed
The Ambassador said that up to this point, they were advocating for the double taxation treaty to “get on the list” of treaties to be addressed with the Department of Treasury, which was successful. However, the double taxation treaty between the US and Croatia is pretty far down the list of priorities. The current priority for the ambassador is to work with the Department of Treasury to move the treaty up the list of priorities. We learned during the call that due to the pandemic and other priorities, the treaty will be likely delayed for several YEARS.
#2 Check on your stimulus payment
Given that you qualify for a stimulus payment in response to the coronavirus pandemic, you should receive it either on your bank account (if you’ve previously received a refund electronically) or by mail on the address on your last tax return. If the address is your address in Croatia, that is where you should receive it.
You can check on the status of your stimulus payment here.
If you didn’t file for 2018 or 2019 and your payment has not yet been mailed, you can enter your bank information to receive your stimulus payment here.
#3 Passport and birth registration services are on hold
The office within the Department of State that handles printing new passports and processing overseas birth registrations is not currently processing these applications. As a result, any applications submitted to the US Embassy in Zagreb cannot be processed.
This does not mean that you cannot submit an application. You can still submit an application to the embassy, but there is currently no estimate on when those applications can be processed in DC.
#4 U.S. Visa waivers for Croatian citizens on the horizon
The ambassador is optimistic that Croatia will be added to the Visa Waiver Program within the next 6 to 12 months. Once added to the program, Croatian citizens will no longer need to apply for a visa to travel to the United States as a tourist.
#5 All new visas to the US on hold
Visa services for all foreign nationals, Croatians included, have been suspended for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus pandemic. This means new travel visas for foreign nationals will not be processed or granted. This applies to:
If you already have a visa to the US that is expiring soon and you need to get it renewed, you may qualify to renew it through the mail if you are under 14 years or over 79 years. Contact the embassy for details on how to renew existing visas.
#6 How to address issues with social security payments
Apparently some US citizens in Croatia are having trouble receiving their social security payments. These issues are being handled by the US Embassy in Athens, Greece. If this situation applies to you, contact them for resolution.
#7 What do you if you want to return to the US
US citizens can still return to America, if they want to. They can only arrive at one of these airports. You will be given a medical examination at the airport. If you appear to be healthy, you will still need to self-quarantine for 14 days. Here are additional resources for US citizens returning from abroad.
#8 American Corners
American Corners are spaces hosted around the world that serve to provide information and engagement. Specifically, they offer:
- Educational advising for those who want to study in the US
- Workshops on a range of topics from career skills to English language learning
- Classes and clubs introducing new technologies, 21st century digital skills, and academic resources
- Films, discussions, and lectures on entrepreneurship, leadership, current events, and international affairs
There are 5 American Corners in Croatia. They are located in:
Find out their exact locations and hours here.
How to contact the US Embassy in Zagreb
Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.